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Evanston RoundTable

Happy Friday morning, Evanston.

Photographer Joerg Metzner caught a tranquil scene Thursday morning in the courtyard of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at Hinman Avenue and Lee Street.

Editor’s note: The RoundTable newsletter will appear Sunday as usual, but we’ll be taking Memorial Day off. Expect us back in your inbox bright and early on Tuesday.

The city’s Economic Development Committee is discussing increasing the minimum wage in Evanston and tying it to the inflation rate going forward. Council Member Devon Reid (8th Ward) proposed raising the wage from the current $13.35 an hour to as much as $16 by July 1. On Wednesday, the panel voted to convene town hall meetings to get feedback from workers and small business owners.

Credit: District 65 YouTube

The District 65 School Board plans to issue $6.5 million in working cash bonds to pay for some of the $189 million in repairs needed between now and 2030. The district’s ability to pay for those repairs is very limited, absent a referendum. Chief Financial Officer Raphael Obafemi (above), told the RoundTable the district is saving money by refinancing 2013 and 2014 bonds, which lets it issue the new bonds without seeking voter approval, unless there’s a petition demanding a vote.

ETHS seniors on the staff of The Evanstonian got an early graduation present this spring: The publication was honored by the Illinois Journalism Education Association as the best high school newspaper in the state. This year, student editors and writers tackled difficult and uncomfortable topics – including school gun lockdowns, controversy over the new AP African American Studies course and Evanston founder John Evans’ role in the Sand Creek Massacre.

Three things you may not know about the RoundTable

We’re in the middle of our Spring membership drive! The RoundTable has been covering Evanston for 25 years and is a nonprofit newsroom. We depend on reader support: Become a member this month and help us continue for the next 25 years!

RoundTable weekend roundup

Safe summer kick-off: The ETHS school year ends today with a noon celebration for students in support of a safe summer for all.

Ice cream social: STEM School Evanston, Northwestern and the Digital Youth Network offer sweet treats and family fun 6 to 8 p.m. tonight in Mason Park at an event postponed from last week.

I’m Alice: The Mudlark Theater offers a new take on Alice in Wonderland this weekend, with performances at 7 p.m. tonight, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Memorial Day Ceremony: Honor America’s fallen at 10 a.m. Monday at Fountain Square, as officials and veterans groups host the annual ceremony.

More RoundTable reads

This spring, the Warren “Billy” Cherry Scholarship Fund celebrated its 30th anniversary, giving $130,000 to 23 students, the most it’s ever awarded. The scholarship honors Cherry (above), a beloved District 65 educator who died in 1990.

Next time you’re on Chicago Avenue in the Main-Dempster Mile area, you may want to keep an eye out for Maison du Prince, Ramsey Prince’s new floral and home decor boutique featuring art, jewelry, house plants and more.

Credit: Gay Riseborough

Several local organizations have been awarded cultural fund grants from the Evanston Arts Council, including the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (above) and 21 other groups. See the list and check in on more arts news.

A month after the ETHS chess team captured sixth place at the National High School Championships, coach Keith Holzmueller looks at how two players made critical endgame moves that helped the team achieve that result.

Memorial Day weekend schedule: A ceremony is set for Monday and most city facilities will be closed for the holiday. Beaches open for the season on Saturday.

Oakton Street improvement: Construction is set to begin June 5 and wrap in late November on the project, which will install new sidewalks, crosswalks, street lights and a bike path, the city announced.

Photos from our readers

Credit: Georgia Vlahos

Sometimes a photo is abstract art: Georgia Vlahos took this shot under the Davis L tracks. Send your photos to news@evanstonroundtable.com for a chance to be included in this newsletter.

Around the web

A reparations retrospective: Looking back at Evanston’s historic reparations initiative. In honor of Evanston’s birthday, a special edition of The Daily Northwestern tracked the city’s journey toward its reparations program.

Tracing the path of the tribes who call Evanston home. The Daily Northwestern also took a look at the Native history of the land where the city was established.

Pritzker, Democratic leaders take victory lap for reaching budget deal — and only drag their feet a bit in actually filing bill. The bill includes more funds for youth violence prevention and several of Pritzker’s education priorities.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...